3 Phases of Confinement
in TCM

27 December 2022

By Intern Chan Ting Ting

From the TCM’s point of view on confinement:

We believe that the first 30 days after birth is paramount to restoring the Mother’s 气(Qi) and the amount of blood loss due to childbirth.

Proper confinement care can also help one to strengthen their body constitution.

Confinement using herbs can be classified into 3 different phases:

  1. Detoxification and Recovery of the uterus (Day 1 to 7)

  1. Nourishing for better digestion and breastfeeding (Day 8 to 14)

  1. Strengthening vitality (Day 15 to 30)

Phase 1: Detox and Recovery (Day 1-7)

Herbs are used to aid recovery of the uterus, ensuring that all the remaining blood and tissues are cleared.

The herbs will promote uterus contraction, easing blood stagnation, and expelling wind and lochia discharge (vaginal discharge after birth)

!Tip: Avoid direct contact with wind and air-conditioning

Phase 2: Nourishing the body (Day 8-14)

Herbs focus on nourishing the body, aiding digestion, and breastfeeding.

This is the phase where one’s metabolism returns to normal where the body turns colder.

Hence, it is essential to warm your body to prevent dampness (湿气 Shi Qi) from impeding digestive functions, affecting nutrient absorption, the quality and amount of breastmilk produced, and one’s overall recovery process.

!Tip: Drink more warm water/ warm drinks to stay hydrated and warm

Phase 3: Strengthening Vitality (Day 15-30)

Herbs used during this phase boosts overall wellness which sustains the mother’s health and ensures that the body is well-prepared for the next pregnancy.

The confinement herbs strengthen joints and muscles, nourishes the blood, and aid in recovery, boosting overall vitality.

!Tip: Avoid too strenuous activities which may cause "muscle weakening" and ensure sufficient rest

*The specific herbs to be taken would have to be prescribed by a physician based on the individual's body constitution.

Common drinks to consume during confinement:

  1. Plain water

Sufficient consumption of plain water is important to stay hydrated. This also promotes the excretion of urine via the kidneys to remove excess fluid in one's body.

Drinking more water is essential to meet new mothers breastfeeding needs as well as breast milk has a composition of 87% water (Martin et al., 2016)

  1. Longan red dates tea

Red dates tea aid in improving 气 (Qi), boosting blood circulation and one's immune system.

Red dates aid in nourishing the Yin (cold) and replenishing the Yang (heat) in the body to restore the balance of Qi. It also boosts the production of white blood cells hence strengthening the body's immune system.

Longans help to improve sleep quality and help one to feel calm by reducing anxiety.

  1. Ginger tea

Ginger is considered a spice that helps to dispel excess cold wind while keeping one warm. Its warming characteristics improve our spleen and digestive function. Additionally, it reduces nausea and discomfort.


Martin, C. R., Ling, P.-R., & Blackburn, G. L. (2016, May 11). Review of infant feeding: Key features of breast milk and infant formula. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/#:~:text=Human%20breast%20milk%20is%20a,protein%2C%20and%207%25%20lactose.